EDITORIAL – It’s OK to want more details about killings in Nova Scotia

Suspect Gabriel Wortman. (Image: RCMP)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

WE NEED TO KNOW MORE about Gabriel Wortman.

Not everyone will feel that way. They’ll say we shouldn’t give so much attention to this man who is alleged to have shot and killed at least 16 people on the weekend — including a police constable — before he was himself killed.

We’d all like to forget everything about the tragedy in Nova Scotia in which so many lost their lives. But Wortman is dead; there’s no glory for him.

Details of what happened were confused as the incident unfolded Saturday night and into Sunday. At one point the national media reported that Wortman had been taken into custody.

That was soon adjusted when police confirmed he was dead. It’s not unusual for information to be fuzzy in the early stages of major police incidents, and for media to be overly anxious to report particulars without confirmation.

RCMP held a news conference Sunday afternoon but a lot of details are still missing. Speculation will be rampant. One reporter even asked if the shootings were somehow related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The media will be doing their best with their own investigative journalism, but much will likely be withheld.

There are, for example, privacy issues around who the victims were. Nevertheless, the public deserves to know more. This is a much different story than last summer’s deadly rampage by a couple of teenagers in B.C., when information was understandably strictly controlled as the manhunt continued.

The story of the Nova Scotia killings — the worst mass shooting in Canada’s history — needs to be fully told. What possible imagined grievances could motivate someone to so meticulously plan such a terrible act, including impersonating a police officer?

We need to understand who the killer was, because that’s our only chance of stopping it from happening again.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8320 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – It’s OK to want more details about killings in Nova Scotia

  1. John Noakes // April 22, 2020 at 6:20 AM // Reply

    I found something interesting: Canadian Criminal Code Part IV Section 130 (1-2) ….. has to do with impersonating a police officer or using equipment to look like law enforcement use such as clothing or a vehicle.
    Didn’t anybody know this guy had at least one vehicle that looked very close to what a marked RCMP vehicle looked like? There were no red flags raised, no enforcement or investigation done about it?
    Nobody thought of reporting this or even making a phone call to the Canadian Firearm Centre in neighbouring New Brunswick to have somebody check out this guy?
    As if anybody in their right mind would want to have a vehicle that looked like a police cruiser.

  2. We need his photo,his name and we need to know all about him.We probably needed to know all about him before this incident,He obviously had problems. The privacy bit has been taken too far.

  3. Mark E. Betuzzi // April 20, 2020 at 8:57 AM // Reply

    This photo needs to be removed. It’s insensitive to the surviving family members.

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